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SteadyServ Helps Keep the Draft Beer Flowing (Video)

swb Re:I worked in bars (48 comments)

For some reason, I would have expected some kind of automatic valve system that would allow multiple kegs to be connected at once, switching over to the next keg when one went empty.

There are a lot of high-volume bars with few taps, I can't imagine the nuisance of constantly switching over to new individual kegs.

12 hours ago
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Intel Putting 3D Scanners In Consumer Tablets Next Year, Phones To Follow

swb Re:Not until Apple includes it in their iPhone (71 comments)

When Apple does it, though, it will just work and not be a feature either poorly supported by Android or crippled by manufacturer and carrier crapware.

yesterday
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

swb Re:Everyone loses (438 comments)

The way things are going? I thought the UK already was bankrupt, socially and racially divided and a shadow of its former glory.

yesterday
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

swb Re:Apple's post-peak celebrity embraces (331 comments)

In 1984, the Beach Boys first record was only 22 years old.

U2's first album is 34 years old. If you went back 34 years from 1984, you're now talking Frank Sinatra territory. Like when he was a teen hearthrob.

yesterday
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Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

swb Re:"Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (173 comments)

There was one club around here kind of like that, a truly world-class golf course that has hosted 3-4 majors in the last 30 years. Their clubhouse was a dump and it allowed them to get serious golf members who didn't care about embroidered hand towels.

The irony with a lot of the old-money exclusive clubs is that their courses may be challenging for amateurs, they're not capable of hosting major men's tournaments. Not enough yardage. A big name professional came in for a one day, high dollar "seminar" and the story was he was driving balls off the tees past the greens.

Frankly, the "opulence" is way less than you think. The facilities are more like a shop-worn high-end hotel, 5 years overdue for a remodeling. There's no models as waitresses, the clubs have to compete for waitstaff against real restaurants that turn a lot of tables. If you're a hot waitress you'll make a ton more money at a trendy new place that's booked three weeks out or some corporate expense steak place where a tab for four runs $500+.

I'm often at a loss why someone would join -- they're nice, but not THAT nice. Most decent cities have more good restaurants than you can visit fast enough before the celebrity chef moves on to some other new, high-end place. The facilities aren't that great and for the kind of money it costs you could certainly get into a lot of other luxury experiences.

yesterday
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

swb Apple's post-peak celebrity embraces (331 comments)

Why does Apple keep investing themselves in post-peak celebrities?

Dre, Iovine and U2 may be influential but how much currency do they have among future music fans? Is it because the decision makers at Apple are all in their late 40s-to-50s and are merely caught up in the fandom of their youth?

Shouldn't they be forming partnerships with artists with a ton of pull with 20-somethings? Do kids in their 20s even listen to U2, or is it something that 40-something moms crank up in their minivans along with an illicit Marlboro Light on their way to pick up the kids at soccer practice?

If U2 had any hip credibility, it was 30 years ago. Can you imagine Apple rolling out the Macintosh in 1984 with a celebrity lineup of the Everly Brothers and Bill Haley & the Comets?

yesterday
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Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

swb Re: "Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (173 comments)

The grounds crew is usually made up of 2-3 well paid full-timers who manage the entire grounds operation along with another half-dozen full-timers who are better (but not well) paid people who do stuff like maintain a fleet of equipment, oversee the massive irrigation systems, the extensive chemicals used to keep the grass up and then oversee the dozen or so seasonal low-wage hourly employees who do the grunt work.

There's a lot of irony in the club business. I've heard a lot of stories -- pictures kept screwed down so the members won't steal them, floral arrangements strategically timed so that the bridge ladies don't take them home hours after they get put out, members blackballed for getting caught loading their trunk with snack items like bottled soda/beer/chips and the never ending calls from members nitpicking their monthly bills over things like "I didn't have desert that night" or "we only ordered one drink". Not to mention the few whose accounts get sent to *collections* over unpaid dues/bills.

While they are really wealthy people there (I've seen new members come in and just write checks from a blue vinyl checkbook for $80-100k initiation fees), I think there's an awful lot of "keeping up appearances" that goes on -- people whose money ran out yet try to maintain an illusion of wealth, or climbers with short-term leases on Mercedes, rented luxury houses and the hope that they can snag some money from the truly wealthy for whatever shell game they're running.

yesterday
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

swb Re:Your DL and plates are fucked, but phone works? (497 comments)

Maybe instead of searching for nudies on their phone and drugs in their car, these samaritans should consider calling a fucking ambulance and doing some basic first aid.

yesterday
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Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

swb "Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (173 comments)

I've done work for country clubs and "keeping the grass short" is very expensive. The equipment and grounds crews for a 18 hole golf course are both extensive.

Most operate at least one full-service restaurant and bar area, sometimes more than one in certain seasons (ie, fine dining room and a more low-key grill type food service) and they staff them like they were going to be 3/4 full despite being empty or only 1/3 full much of the time. Food waste is huge, plus they usually feed their employees a separate meal.

A lot of clubs have big, old clubhouses that are maintenance nightmares. They don't get replaced because its a multi-million dollar expense that has to be paid for through assessments on members and there's a romantic attachment to the clubhouse because someone famous played there 100 years ago.

And your $10k initiation fee? That's a joke, $10k is for some low-rent club with a bowling-alley class snack bar. Try $100k, which usually buys stock which is refunded to members when they resign the club. It's usually $2k/month with dues, food and beverage and golf fees. And this is for a better Midwestern club, I'd double those figures on the coast, or more in certain places.

The fees aren't to keep people out, either, even if they have that effect, they're just to keep the place running. The members openly practice discrimination on who gets to join, you don't just apply for membership, you have to be asked and sponsored by a current member. But despite the veil of exclusivity, most really make ends meet by renting the place via their banquets office and low-cost "social" memberships that enable use of the foodservice areas. They need them to keep the place running.

yesterday
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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

swb Re:Not a problem... (312 comments)

I thought the one with the population density of Houston was more interesting as it implies a more livable density than Manhattan. A slight reduction in density might allow for grow-local kind of agriculture, too.

There might be actual incentives to encouraging the development of a megacity. The energy savings in transportation would be huge and there's probably a lot of other economies of scale to be gained. If other populated areas became equally less dense the environment might improve.

The downside is that all big cities have a gross aspect to them, especially poorer ones.

2 days ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

swb Your DL and plates are fucked, but phone works? (497 comments)

So the brick managed to destroy the license plates and your driver's license or other cards with your name on them in the car, but your fucking phone still works? And you happen to have a contact for your wife in your phone that says "WIFE" and not just her first name?

2 days ago
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Wave Power Fails To Live Up To Promise

swb Re:When doing anything involving the ocean (190 comments)

The original screws were probably bronze, not brass. Bronze has no appreciable zinc while brass contains a lot of zinc. Immersed in sea water, brass will dezincify and corrode.

Most marine raw water systems use bronze fittings for this reason.

Stainless isn't suitable for below the waterline applications because the chromium can't form a protective oxidization layer due to the lack of oxygen exposure.

Your boat would have sunk with brass or stainless screws.

3 days ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

swb It doesn't seem to make sense (489 comments)

I don't really understand the political or economic motivations of Scottish independence.

The political side would make more sense if Scotland was greatly different than UK culturally and had a significant short-term history of English subjugation. The Scots really aren't an ethnic or racial grouping, except at some micro level and don't seem to have a serious complaint regarding discrimination on language or religious grounds.

The economics make less sense -- Scotland has been economically integrated with the larger UK for a long time. Had Scotland split off in 1850, it would have been at a time when economies were smaller and much more locally self sufficient and it would have had time to develop into something that The economy seems much more regional now and it will be a hard transition to a more standalone economy.

3 days ago
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A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

swb Water/retardant "bombing"? (110 comments)

Could they encapsulate the retardant or water into some kind of non-flammable shell that would break open on impact? Sort of like giant water balloons or paintballs.

If so, they could repurpose some of the parked B-52s into "water bombers". It's not clear to my quickie referencing if this would be a net improvement in payload but it might be an improvement in payload delivery flexibility if you could choose to unload a partial load or make multiple passes. It looks like the DC10 has to dump the entire payload at once.

I would guess that loadout might be easier with a bulk tank than with bombs, but I think some models of the B52 could be loaded with "clips" of several bombs at once.

3 days ago
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Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

swb Re:Lie. (191 comments)

You can secure SMTP with TLS, can't you?

4 days ago
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Uber CEO: We'll Run Your Errands

swb Uber is the new weed guy? (139 comments)

Isn't this ultimately what this kind of service (d)evolves into?

5 days ago
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Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

swb Smithsonian should commission a new model (99 comments)

It seems kind of contradictory to hang the TV production model in the A&S museum, where people will complain about how simplistic the model is without understanding the nature of a TV model (ie, not meant to be seen other than in controlled TV shots on 1960s standard def television).

The TV model should be restored as closely as possible to its TV version and then put in the Smithsonian wing that houses various forms of Americana so that it can be a proper historical relic.

Then they should build a new model of the Enterprise with all the detail people have come to expect for A&S.

5 days ago
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US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

swb Re:+-2000 deaths? (119 comments)

Not sure if this matters, but I remember reading someplace that one of the "benefits" of the plague is that it drove up the cost of labor which ended up having a positive impact for ordinary people.

about a week ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

swb Is it really that dangerous? (326 comments)

It seems dangerous to me -- I don't text while I drive, but I've futzed with my phone to make a call or change some settings and even that seems like it could easily cause problems.

That being said, not a day goes by that I'm driving that I don't see one or more people texting and driving and yet from 2006 to 2011, fatal motor vehicle crashes went down in the US every year.

If texting is as dangerous ("think of the children", "we have to do something", etc) as its made out to be and as prevalent as it seems to be, why are motor vehicle fatalities going down? Shouldn't the "epidemic" of texting be pushing them up, especially if its so dangerous?

about a week ago
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Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

swb Re:power consumption? (207 comments)

in the way that they like to mention how it has a new processor. since uh, there's not that much to mention about the iphone6 except nfc.

Not much except a much larger screen size, which is obviously the big new feature for iPhone users.

The smartphone as a concept across any brand hasn't done anything new and different since the iPhone first came out. It's all been incrementalism -- faster CPUs, more pixels, bigger screens, faster wifi, etc.

about a week ago

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